Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Worcestershire Ccc Secure Major Cash Boost After New Road Flood Setbacks

Worcestershire Ccc Secure Major Cash Boost After New Road Flood Setbacks

Worcestershire have received a major financial boost after a flood-ravaged winter at New Road by agreeing a six figure shirt sponsorship deal with Arctic Spas.

The hot tub manufacturer and supplier have put pen to paper on a three year deal with the county until the end of the 2016 campaign.

It is a case of Arctic Spas extending and strengthening their liasion with Worcestershire, whose headquarters has been underwater for much of the past two months, after initially being their Twenty20 sponsors last season.

And county chief executive David Leatherdale hopes it will be the start of a "long term" relationship with the Hartlebury-based company which has been the leading hot tub brand in the United Kingdom since 2000.

He believes would-be sponsors such as Arctic Spas are taking increasing confidence in the county after becoming a 365 day a year business with the opening of the multi-million pound corporate and membership facility "The View" and showing greater capacity to cope with the annual flood waters.

Leatherdale, a former Worcestershire all-rounder for nearly two decades, said: "Arctic were with us last year and for them to come on board for three years as the main shirt sponsor shows confidence from them in the club.

"Hopefully it is the start of a long term relationship.

"This is a very different business now that sponsors are buying into and, with the facilities, is the diversity we are now offering sponsors that we didn't have before that people are keen to be involved with.

"We've had some long term main sponsors in the past and to get someone who came on new and fresh last year just for one specific thing, and then take it across all three formats of the game, shows what cricket has got to offer."

Worcestershire business development director Jon Graham said: "We have been courting quite a few businesses to get them to buy into the vision we are committed to over the next few years.

"It is the most significant sponsorship deal we've done in recent times, into six figures over the next three years.

"It is good to have a sponsor and a business partner that actually buys into the vision of where we are taking the club.

"Recent investment in the infrastructure has demonstrated not only to the county – but the ECB as well – where Worcestershire are going with things."

Graham believes the future is bright for the county after the nightmare of the 2007 flood which cost them over one million pounds with no cricket played on the ground after June that summer.

He said: "We've been in the shadows since the well publicised floods of 2007 but I think this is the rebirth of one of the most famous cricket institutions in the country.

"We are really pleased to have Arctic Spas on board and really looking forward to the next three years. I think it is going to be exciting times."

Graham insisted the company had not been put off by the floodwaters as the "open for business" signs remained at New Road despite the ground being engulfed in several metres of water.

He said: "Absolutely not. The people of Worcester have lived with the floods for a number of years, albeit this one was a little bit higher than we usually expect.

"At the end of the day, I think the club has got a lot of resilience, I think that is a strong asset to have, and sponsors see we are more than capable of taking the knocks and coming back as a business."

"Even when the flood got to its peak and New Road was closed outside the cricket ground, the new facility (The View) was fully functional except for two days when the main river bridge was closed and we are now a 365 days a year business."

David Martin, Arctic Spas president of UK operations, admitted: "The progress Worcestershire have made with their infrastructure and buildings was a massive part for us.

"They are certainly looking to the future and have all the steps there to take Worcestershire cricket back to where it used to be, at the top of the tree.

"We don't go into anything blindly so I have read up on the club and who has been involved and the history and the club is steeped in history and one of the major players.

"You need to take everything into consideration when you are doing any sort of sponsorship and I just felt the way they are looking forward, with the history behind them, is a good mix for Arctic Spas."

Martin admits he was also impressed by Worcestershire's ability to sign Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal for the 2014 campaign.

He said: "They are a club that is really looking forward and, if a club like Worcestershire can attract the number one spin bowler in the world, it shows you they are doing things right."